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Some of the good stuff about social networking

By Tim Mitchell on 24 Mar, 2014

Sometimes, my conscience gets the better of me. This time, it's about social networking.

I seem to write so much and so often about the pitfalls of Facebook, Twitter et al that I feel compelled to write something positive about it too, based on an event I witnessed recently and a beneficial new way of exploiting the virality of the planet's biggest social networking sites.

I work out of an office in Oxfordshire once a week, and we had a young lady from Germany working as an intern. She rented a room in the town but apart from her landlord and her work colleagues, didn't know anybody else here. A few days before Christmas, she was due to fly home to Germany for the festive break. The day before, she arrived at work very distressed, and explained in her perfect English that the previous evening she had lost her purse, complete with cash, payment cards and passport. Distraught isn't the word!

Having sat her down with a cup of tea, one of the guys in the office had the bright idea of looking on the Facebook page for the town where the office is. There was a fresh post reading "Does anybody know (name of the German girl)?"  A good samaritan had found her purse in Tesco, found her name on her cards and instantly thought of posting the find on Facebook. Purse and owner were reunited and it was a case of all's well that ends well.

Also ... we've now all heard about NekNominate, the nominate-someone-you-know-to-drink-even-more-irresponsibly-than-you craze that's sweeping Facebook. However, the nomination game for good causes is now also going viral.

South African Brent Lindeque jumped in his car and filmed himself giving a sandwich, chocolate and a Coke to a homeless man, then nominated two of his friends to do the same. He got 6,950 Followers on Twitter. DJ Ashley Abernethie scored over 50,000 Likes and 12,000 Shares on Facebook simply by drinking coffee instead of beer.

Bare-faced ladies and c**k in a sock

And now, charity Cancer Research UK has raised more than £2 million in seemingly no time at all with a viral campaign encouraging women to post makeup-free selfies with the hashtag #nomakeupselfie. Not to left out, the lads have posted selfies on Instagram and Facebook posing in nothing but a strategically-placed sock in aid of testicular cancer.

So yeah, social networking sites can play an enormously beneficial role in helping people out, keeping in contact and many other positive things.

All we need now is for the minority of idiots who have other ideas to stop and think before they act.

Tim Mitchell is Content Editor at Get Safe Online.